2012-01-23

Stretching seems not to be necessary for runners

I was just feeling curios about stretching and googled the phrase "is stretching good?".

Interestingly I did hit gold at the first attempt. What I was interested in were references to serious studies showing that stretching after a workout is (or not) important.

After reading "Born to Run" and learning that there are no studies whatsoever that support the claims of the shoe industry I just thought that there may be more things that we give for granted but are not based on hard facts. One of these is stretching.

Note that I am a big stretching fan. I know dozens of stretches and I am using some of them with success to correct protracted shoulders. But what is good for posture correction may not be good for something completely different as injury prevention and endurance running.

The hard facts is that there is no study showing a relation between pre or post workout stretching and injury and even less with regard to performance improvement and in fact there is some evidence or suspicion of rather the contrary.

I guess that stretching may be a good idea for those starting any sport, as they surely lack the very basic flexibility and some extra light exercise are never a bad thing to do.

In fact I did noticed an improvement of some soreness on my knees after changing my heavy training routine for the lighter one described in Pfizinger's "Advanced Marathoning". In fact the soreness completely disapeared, while my mileage increased during the same period.

For one week I will stop stretching after workouts. It shouldn be too much of a problem as I do a good cooldown after each run, consisting in 1-2 miles at recovery pace and at least 1 mile walking. Saving myself 30-40 minutes a day can be in fact a great improvement in regard to my agenda allowing me an extra buffer every morning before commuting to work.

Here the articles I was talking about, some with references to more detailed sutdies:

http://faculty.washington.edu/crowther/Misc/RBC/stretch.shtml

http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-241-287--7001-0,00.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/13/health/nutrition/13Best.html?pagewanted=all



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